Volunteers Cleaned the Santa Barbara Harbor

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Volunteers Cleaned the Santa Barbara Harbor
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Volunteers gather behind debris pulled from the seafloor at 2017 Clean Sweep event (Photo: City of Santa Barbara Photo)

The seafloor in any busy harbor may be littered with lost or discarded junk, impacting the environment just like litter on land. Ever wonder, “What’s down there, where does it come from, and does anybody ever clean it up?”

Santa Barbara Harbor’s Operation Clean Sweep, a seafloor debris cleanup program, held its 12th annual event on Saturday, May 5th. A team of volunteer divers, supported by 40 or so volunteer dock workers, removed junk from beneath Marina 2.

Divers located the junk and dock volunteers carted it off for disposal. The event began at 8:00 a.m., with a briefing on the Travel Lift Pier beneath the Harbormaster’s Office, complete with free coffee and donuts, and concluded with a hearty box lunch at 11:30 a.m.

During past events, volunteers like these—many of them “Clean Sweepers” from the start—removed a total of 19.2 tons of debris from Santa Barbara Harbor. Items retrieved during past years ranged from bicycles, barbeques, plastic barrels, and boat propellers to outboard engines, phones, computers, and the occasional marine battery. 

The City of Santa Barbara’s Waterfront Department joined volunteers from NOAA, SB Maritime Museum, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, SB Sail and Power Squadron, Santa Barbara Surfrider Foundation, Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute, and harbor dive businesses in this effort.

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a-1552930781 May 12, 2018 04:54 PM
Volunteers Cleaned the Santa Barbara Harbor

In the 12 years the program has been going, volunteers have removed 21.2 tons of stuff; this year's two tons included a 500-pound iron keel, so, not counting that, there was "only" an accumulation of 1.5 tons in the 10 years since Marina 2 was last "cleaned". I agree with A-1526168955 at 9:32 this morning that it is shameful.

Luvaduck May 12, 2018 11:13 AM
Volunteers Cleaned the Santa Barbara Harbor

Many boaters are very conscientious, careful and good stewards; others have enough money to own a boat but no sense of responsibility for the ocean or environment, and often, no sense of anything but their own entitlement and pleasure. You ask what they do out-of-sight: Anything they can get away on whim.

a-1552930781 May 12, 2018 09:32 AM
Volunteers Cleaned the Santa Barbara Harbor

If you ever wondered who was putting all the garbage in the Pacific Ocean's "garbage patch" or "garbage triangle," well, it's quite obvious. Of course a minuscule amount is flushed out rivers and streams. However, it amazes the sheer volume of filth our very own "green-of-the-green" local SB boaters continue to dump, flush, and chuck overboard. That's tons and tons of debris and toxic materials these "ocean lovers" nonchalantly toss into the harbor with no regard. One would have to wonder what they are doing once they leave our sight. Heal the Ocean? Shameful.

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